No doubt you’re all too aware of the power of Google for businesses - it’s an absolute behemoth in the online arena and over 92% of all internet searches on conducted using Google.
That equates to a pretty mind-blowing 70,000 every second! Essentially, it makes it absolutely critical that all businesses make the most of the tools they have on offer for getting noticed by potential customers.
Google’s Local Services Ads are their latest offering for businesses, designed to help them get noticed in local searches and streamline the whole customer onboarding process. In this article, we’ll give you the low down on what they are, how you can use them to benefit your small business and more.
The aim of Local Services Ads is to help businesses get more local jobs - sounds good, right? But how?
Google strategically places business ads so consumers will see them when searching for the services you offer in your vicinity.
If you’re thinking it sounds like Google’s existing Ads platform, you’re right, but Local Services Ads go one step further because they filter the search results based on the exact services you offer and make it possible for consumers to contact you and book in with your business there and then.
When you sign your business up to Local Services Ads, Google will ask you a series of questions about the specifics of your business and work with you to discern exactly what it is that you offer and whether you meet the necessary local requirements e.g. insurance and licenses.
Then, when a customer searches for a service you offer, your ad will pop up and your business will be presented as a ‘Google Guaranteed Business’ - amazing for your credibility - and they’ll be asked to confirm the actual job they’re looking for and the area they’re in, to ensure your business is truly a good match.
If everything lines up they simply click your ad and can connect with your business by phone on the spot.
In order to become a Google Guaranteed business, you firstly need to complete their verification process.
As we mentioned, it involves meeting any necessary local requirements and Google will work together with you through the process.
Once secured, the Google Guarantee will work wonders for your public perception and consumers’ willingness to use your business - it can feel like a leap of faith sometimes when using a new business, and the Google Guarantee is designed to give consumers peace of mind by showing you’ve been vetted and approved by Google themselves.
Good to know: If a customer is dissatisfied with the quality of the service a Google Guaranteed business has provided, under the Guarantee Google may refund up to the amount paid for work booked via their Local Services Ads, with a lifetime cap for coverage.
There’s no straightforward answer to this question, with Local Services Ads how much you pay will be determined by how much money you allocate to your budget.
The power is in your hands, and you can increase or decrease your budget at any time within your account.
However, there is an important difference between the way in which you’ll pay for Local Services Ads compared to regular Google Ads (which are pay per click).
Local Services ads use Pay per Lead, meaning you’ll only pay for valid leads - e.g. leads secured via your Local Services Ads which result in your completing a job and being paid for it.
Good to know: If something slips the net and you receive a spammy, fraudulent, or ill-fitting lead you’ll be able to dispute the charge for credit with Google.
Being a Google-approved business is not something to be sniffed at, it’s a major advantage to your business. Consumers do their homework before spending their hard-earned cash, and won’t enter into a business relationship without a little reassurance that you’re reputable, trustworthy, and competent.
The Google Guarantee ticks all those boxes - you’re essentially getting business backing by one of the biggest companies in the world - who wouldn’t want Google in their corner?
Customers who use your business as a result of Local Services Ads will be actively encouraged by Google to leave a review - these will be shown alongside your business in future searches and are super, super valuable.
Social proof is everything in today’s market - shoppers trust the opinions and recommendations of others (even if they’re total strangers) so much more than they’d believe anything you say, so reviews can be like rocket fuel for your business marketing.
Businesses making use of Local Services Ads will have their advert listed above Paid Search Ads in consumer search results.
We harp on about the importance of placing in Google search results a lot on the takepayments blog, and that’s because it has such a massive impact on your likelihood of being clicked on by shoppers.
Local Services Ads will position you right at the top - and there’s no better (or more lucrative) place to be.
The number of people making searches using their voice is on the rise big time - at the end of 2020, 27% of all searches were voice searches, and that numbers only set to grow when you think how big of an economy smart homes are right now.
With Local Services Ads, your business will be found by any consumer searching using Google Assistant, and as it stands, that equates to 400 million devices worldwide (and counting).
If you’re already using Paid Ads online (Google or otherwise), you’ll be all too aware of the importance of keywords, and staying up to date on the latest trends in searches in order for your ads to be successful.
Well, with Local Services Ads you won’t have to contend with keywords or even manage your ads at all - it’s all done by Google based on your business profile and Local Service Ads are automatically triggered by customer searches for thousands of relevant search terms.
Now we’re not saying pay per click is obsolete - far from it - but it can be a rather costly exercise when things don’t go to plan. Consumer clicks on your ads cost you money, and even if they leave your site within seconds, you’ll be forking out for the inconvenience.
Plus, the occasional mismatch of keywords to ads can impact your purse strings too.
Thanks to Pay per Lead with Local Services Ads, you’ll only pay when there’s something in it for you.
To get the ball rolling head to Google’s Local Services Ads page and check your business’ eligibility.
The platform is only available for certain businesses operating in certain industries, essentially, those it would make sense for like plumbers, event planners, window cleaners, etc.
Top tip: You can find a full breakdown here.
If you’re eligible you’ll be taken through the process of creating an account.
Set up your Local Services Ads profile to determine which jobs are matched to your business - it’s important at this stage to be super specific and honest. If not, you’ll be agreeing to pay for leads you can’t fulfil.
Within your business profile you’ll have access to:
There’s also the option to add ‘highlights’ to your profile which are a great tool for distinguishing yourself from the competition. For example, you could write ‘locally owned family run business’.
Good to know: highlights are optional but could be great additional marketing. Google recommends including between two and five highlights in your profile.
Add any relevant license and insurance information relating to your business in order to complete the verification stage and become a Google Guaranteed Business.
You’ll also be asked to complete a background check with a Google-approved fieldworker. This step exists to protect joe public from any Tom, Dick, or Harry turning up at their home to complete a job and is Google’s way of ensuring consumer safety and trust.
Good to know: There’s no cost to you for these checks.
You’re now ready to launch your business profile with Local Services Ads and start collecting new leads.
It’s really important at this stage you keep up with any new leads coming in because not every lead received equates to a booked job - you can do this via your profile dashboard.
Once you’ve launched keep an eye on your budget too - you can increase or decrease it within your profile at any time.
Remember, since it’s a pay per lead platform that by decreasing your budget you’ll be directly decreasing the number of leads you receive (this isn’t always a bad thing if you’re booked up or taking a break).
Last but not least, although Google will encourage customer reviews, you can do this yourself too via your business profile - there’s a link next to every completed lead to ‘ask for review’ so don’t forget to use it!
All that’s left for us to say is, good luck! Signing up to Google’s Local Services Ads will work wonders for your customer acquisition and should have the bookings rolling in, in no time - that means taking more payments, and we can help with that too!